第三方物流( third-party logistics， 3PL)， 也称作物流外包( logistics out-sourcing)或合同物流(contractlogistics)，一直是物流和供应链办理中最简单被误解的术语之一。与咱们看到的其他供应链概念( 如协作、供应链办理) 相同，第三方物流也没有一个遍及承受的界说。例如，一些界说从广义视点以为未在企业内部完结的任何物流活动都代表第三方物流。相反，别的一些界说着重3PL协议是买卖两边之间的长时间约好，两边持有联系性的观念而非买卖性观念。
Third-party logistics (third-party logistics (3PL), also known as logistics outsourcing (logistics out-sourcing) or contractlogistics (contractlogistics), has always been one of the most misunderstood terms in logistics and supply chain management.Like other supply chain concepts we see (such as cooperation, supply chain management), there is no universally accepted definition of third-party logistics.For example, some definitions assume in a broad sense that any logistics activities not completed within the enterprise represent third-party logistics.Instead, other definitions emphasize that a 3PL agreement is a long-term agreement between buyers and sellers, and that both parties hold relational views rather than transactional views.
不管从广义仍是狭义的视点，第三方物流所包含的一般观念是，一家企业( 如制造商)答应一家专业性企业为其供给一种或多种物流功能(如仓储、外向运送)。一些闻名的3PL供给商包含英运物流(Exel Logistics)、 德讯(Kuehne and Na-gle)、辛克物流( Schenker Logistics)和联合包裹供应链处理计划(UPS SupplyChain Solutions)。近年来，3PL供给商之间呈现了很多兼并，例如，德国邮政(DeutschePost)收买了英运物流，联合包裹供应链处理计划收买了门洛物流(Menlo Logistics)等，并且这种兼并还将持续。尽管这些兼并为顾客供给了更全面的供应链服务，可是兼并也导致可供挑选的竞赛企业削减。
Whether broad or narrow, the general view is that a business (such as a manufacturer) allows a professional enterprise to provide it with one or more logistics functions (e. g., warehousing, outward transportation).Some prominent 3PL providers include UK Logistics (Exel Logistics), Deutsche (Kuehne and Na-gle), Sink Logistics (Schenker Logistics) and United Parcel Supply Chain Solutions (UPS SupplyChain Solutions).In recent years, there have been numerous mergers among 3PL providers, such as DeutschePost) acquiring UK Logistics, United Parcel Supply Chain Solutions acquiring Menlo Logistics (Menlo Logistics), and the merger will continue.While these mergers provide customers with more comprehensive supply chain services, they also result in fewer selection of competitive businesses.
3PL customers can request many different activities, most commonly including inward and outward transportation, carrier negotiation and contract signing, and packing of goods.Moreover, some 3PL providers have begun to offer so-called add-on services, such as final product assembly, product installation, and product repair, which have exceeded their traditional services.These 3PL add-on services can blur the differences between traditional supply chain members (for example, product assembly is usually done by manufacturers).But importantly, this ambiguity of the distinction may actually facilitate supply chain integration, as there is more emphasis on cross-functional processes than a specific functional issue.
Decisions to use 3PL services can be based on strategic considerations, such as companies arguing that some or some aspect of its supply chain needs to change.Moreover, decisions using 3PL services can also be tactical, and businesses may have an inefficient distribution network, inability to control internal costs, expensive or rigid productivity, outdated storage facilities, or outdated information systems.Whether strategic or tactical, 3PL services are used because the enterprise recognizes that it does not have enough internal capabilities to solve one or some problems.
While logistics outsourcing has the potential to improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of the supply chain, 3PL solutions are prone to fail (for example, one side cannot meet the expectations of the other).3 A common reason for P L failure is those coming from customers. Unreasonable and unrealistic expectations.For example, it may be unrealistic (and unreasonable) for customers to expect 3PL providers to reduce annual transportation costs by 50%.Another reason for the failure of the 3PL scheme is the lack of flexibility.No matter how fully providers and customers prepare for 3PL solutions, unexpected things and challenges will always occur.Can it be reasonable. Arrange a 3PL plan to deal with accidents in a timely and satisfactory manner?